Monday, September 30, 2013

September 30, 2013

Yo family,
Hey y'all.  Sounds like everyone back home is doing exactly the same thing that I'm doing here:  Loving life and getting ready for the greatest weekend since April:  GENERAL CONFERENCE!!!!!!!!!!!  I have seriously been counting down for this since April 7th haha.  I absolutely love conference.  It's better than Christmas, a two day banquet of answers.  I am so excited and it sounds like you are too.  Dad, I loved seeing the photos with Rindy, is he still not married? Tell him to get on it!  Hahaha jk.
So before I forget, I wanna wish a super, super happy birthday to my little sister Alyssa.  Where has the time gone?  I can't believe that you are now 15 years old.  Have a great b-day Lys.  You are wonderful.
So as for Elder Dominguez and I, we've had a great week.  I have been so blessed with so many wonderful companions and Elder Dominguez is incredible just like so many have been.  We get along great.  This last Thursday and Friday we were in Tampico for Leadership Counsel and we got to teach an ex-mission president in a practice.  That was a lot of fun.  Teaching is so much fun, it's something that I've really come to love in my time in the mission.  We are having some really good success in a lot a different aspects of the work right now.  We've got a few good investigators with baptismal dates, la Familia Del Angel is doing great and learning more every day, we are helping branch counsels throughout the district learn and carry out the work of salvation, and we are personally learning more and more about the gospel every day.  
I love being a missionary and I think I am appreciating the unique opportunity that it is more and more every day.  Never again will I be able to be a single, young man dedicating all day every day to doing the Lord's missionary work.  The greatest part is that as I have tried to do so faithfully, the Lord has truly helped, molded, and changed me more than I could have ever thought possible on my own.  The church is true, 100% true.  I love being a missionary and I feel so fortunate to have been born a member.  Thank you so much parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  You bless my life more than you could ever know.  
Have a great week and have a KILLER conference experience.  I love you all so much.  
Elder Stockard 

Monday, September 23, 2013

September 23, 2013

Yo, so the work in la Huasteca just keep bumpin' like always!  Not gonna lie, this week was a lot of fun.  Lots of good stuff going on down here.  Sounds like everyone is healthy and happy back home as well.  That is always so good to hear and know.  Even though you are all happy, I'm not sure that it would be possible that you could be more happy than I am down here in Huejutla, Hidalgo.  
My new comp is a total boss.  Elder Dominguez is from Chihuahua, Chihuahua.  He is a graduate of the church school down here that they just turned into the new MTC, El Benemerito de las Americas (All of my last 3 comps have graduated from el Bene).  He's been a  member his whole life and has like 14 months in the mission.  He started his mission in my district when I was up in Victoria, so its fun to be comps when we already know each other pretty well.
So yeah, not sure if I told you guys this story so I'm gonna tell it to y'all again cuz its pretty good and it keeps getting better.  So we have one neighborhood in our area that is way far away from the rest.  It's called El Pintor, it's actually in a different state than the rest of Huejutla, haha.  Well, we have quite a bit of work out in El Pintor, but it's a trick to organize it well because it's far away and we don't wanna go out there for just one appointment and then come back to our area.  So, one Sunday like two weeks ago, Elder Gonzalez and I were walking back to Huejutla from El Pintor on the highway.  As we walked, a lady came up to us and asked us to come talk to her and her husband.  Well, it turns out that the two of them are members and inactive... But, their son is not a member.  So these last two weeks we've been working with la Familia Del Angel to get them back into the swing of going to church and living the gospel.  They are a really sweet family, they were baptized like 7 years ago, went for just a little while, then went inactive till right now.  Yesterday they all came to church.  The good thing about El Pintor where they live is that there are a lot of active members who live out there as well who are really helping us out in the work.  The son, Carlos, is 10 years old and really likes going and playing sports at church and everything and the whole family had a great time at church yesterday.  I have seen, time and time again, that when we work hard and obey, the Lord will not let us fail in his work... Even when it doesn't seem logical, miracles always come when we are prepared to receive them.
I'm glad that Connor Nelson got my letter.  Please tell him hi for me, he actually wrote me first.  Also, good luck to Spencer, Skye and Baylee.  They are all gonna kill it big time. There is no greater time to be a missionary and they are going to learn why very quickly as they learn to work within the work of salvation.  
I love you all, thanks for all the support and love that you all have for me.  I feel the same for all of you and am blessed to know you.  Have a great week.  #143
Elder Stockard

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

September 18, 2013

[P-Day this week was backed up by two days because of Hurricane Ingrid.]

So it's been pretty much straight dope to be down here in Mexico this week cuz hurricane Ingrid has been doing work all over the place.  I don't think I've ever been so soaked in my entire life.  So I'll break it down for y'all. 

So yesterday we were teaching a lesson with our Branch Pres at like 2ish.  As we were finishing up the rain started to come pretty hard.  He offered to give us a ride to our next appointment and on the way it just got like crazy hard the rain.  Elder Gonzalez and I, not the type to be easily discouraged, thanked him for the ride and got out of the car to go trek through the rain.  We found ourselves walking in what was once a dirt road towards the appointment, but what was now quickly becoming a river.  It was seriously nuts.  After the appointment we went to eat with La Familia De Santiago, the District President and his family.  There is where I learned the practical reality of what a flash flood is.  We were eating in their covered outdoor kitchen and it was raining one minute, and literally the next the whole house was filling with water.  That obviously put a kink in my desires to eat the carne asada that we had just blessed, as we quickly turned all our attention to running into and saving everything from their house by taking it to their upstairs rooms.  It's a good thing that we were there because between President, Chucho (their son), Elder Gonzalez and I we were able to save all their possessions before the water ruined them. But our relief for having saved their stuff was minimal because we found that the house continued to fill with water!  I was so stunned by how quickly the flood came.  Living in Fallon, flash floods were never really a problem, but this flood literally came out of nowhere.  It was so cool to see though, as not only us and the De Santiago family worked to clean the water out of their house, but literally their whole neighborhood was there helping out!  It was so cool and they came together so fast to be able to do it.  All these people from different houses that were safe, came quickly to the aid of their friends and neighbors, it was so cool to see.  We were able to save and clean their house and two hours later we sat down to finish eating as if nothing had ever happened, haha.

Besides that, the work is going well.  Today are transfers and my friend Elder Gonzalez is outta here.  My new companion is named Elder Dominguez!  He is a total Chief.  He has been a Zone Leader in another zone right now and I'm excited to work with him.  We were in Victoria together so it should be fun.  The time is flying by and I couldn't be happier to be a missionary.  There is literally nothing that makes me happier.  I think I wrote this a few weeks ago, but I analyzed it and I think that I am literally happy 98% of the time as a missionary.  There is like no room for sadness.  It's the greatest work, the most fulfilling thing I've ever done.  The best part is that its ALL true.  Thank you all for being example to me and know that I love you all.  #143 #JakeHeaps

Elder Stockard 

September 9, 2013

Ey Yoooooo,
Wow, so can you all get any cooler?  I was walking down this small little street here in Huejutla last night and it just hit me once again how grateful I am for 2 things: 1. To have been born a member of the Church and 2.  To have been born into the incredible family that I have.  What a blessing y'all are to me.  At different points throughout my mission your support has always meant sooo much for me in so many different ways.  Thank you for being the family that you were and are for me.  I thank my Heavenly Father every day for y'all.  

So, sounds like Stake Conference was bomb.  That's cool that they redid the Church building and thanks for the interesting facts about the creation of our stake Momma, I have really become fascinated by all things church organization related in my time here in the mish.  That's cool that it was the 500th stake created.  Now they are at over 3000 right?  The Lord is truly hastening His work.  That hastening is no more apparent than here in the Tampico mission.  This area of the Huasteca especially.  We are seeing miracles on all fronts daily here in this area of the vineyard.  Someday I would love for some family member to see this place, I have never seen any place else in my entire life that is so green and gorgeous.  The people here are a true example of humility as well.  

I have been studying the Book of Mormon highlighting all the scriptures that show or talk about humility in one color and all those that show or talk about pride in another and it's really opened my eyes to a few things.  It's also been really cool to have these Huastecos as examples of such humility as I've been studying it as well.  One really interesting things that I've been learning has to do with the Nephite Pride cycle that eventually destroyed them.  We learn in D&C 29 (I think) that unto God all things are spiritual and that he never gives us temporal laws.  We also learn in D&C 130 that all blessings are received for obedience to a law of God.  Its logical to think that spiritual laws bring spiritual blessings right?  I am convinced that what happened with the Nephites and what still happens many times today is that we obey the spiritual laws of God, who then starts to bless us, the side effects of which are many times worldly success and prosperity... But those temporal blessings are blessings that bring with them a test:  The test of whether or not we will remember the Lord our God when all is well.  If we pass that test, we receive the true, deeper, life changing blessings such as increased humility, patience, faith, Gifts of the Spirit and all in all we become more Christ like and show that we can be faithful over the little that we have.  I also see that journal writing and the Law of Tithing are commandments given to help us succeed in not falling to our temporal blessings/tests.  The gospel is really so interesting and has become so much more clear to me as a missionary.  
So this week was bomb.  Yulma couldn't go to church yesterday for work but her 3 kids went.  Her kids are 16, 12, and 7 and la Hermana Lupita has been helping us a ton!  They continue progressing along with lots of other great people and miralces.  All and All, life couldn't be better.  I love my comp, we get along great, I love this place, I love the mission.  I was thinking about it and I don't think I'm like ever sad as a missionary.  Stressed, or frustrated sometimes but sad like never.  The work of the Lord truly makes us happy.  I love you so much.  Have a great week and thanks for all the Support.  #JakeHEaps #GMC$  
Elder Stockard

Monday, September 2, 2013

September 2, 2013

How is it that another week has flown right by us?  I'm so blessed to hear from y'all and it makes me so happy to know that all is well!  I love you all so so much.  Wow, so Momma, did they like totally remodel the Stake Center or something?  If they did I bet it's gonna be off the hook now.  That's dope.  
Dad wrote me last week about his plan for motivating Ryan and Lys to get to seminary on time and I've gotta say, it's brilliant.  Respect to your plan Dad.  Motivation is a wonderful thing and sounds like you've got the two of them really motivated.  What Ryan and Alyssa are learning is something that I've been learning a lot about in these last few weeks:  It's all about perspective!  Two different people can see the exact same problem, the exact same situation and one can be completely overwhelmed by it and the other can be unphased (I hope that's a word) by it.  Why?  It's all due to the perspective with which we see things.  The narrower our view of the world or a situation, the more extreme the problem seems.  The wider our scope of vision, the smaller and less significant the problems will seem.  Our Heavenly Father knows this, that's why he created and has taught us the Plan of Salvation, because it provides us with an eternal perspective.  It helps us to grasp that our afflictions will be no more than a small moment (dyc 121) and helps us to overcome them by knowing where we are going and where we came from.  That's why so many people who become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ say, "I still have problems, but they don't seem as big as they did before."  The gospel widens our perspective and helps us to see that our difficulties and problems are manageable.  Thinking about Ry and Alyssa, they might at first think that getting to seminary on time is absolutely impossible, but give them a little motivation and get them in the habit of doing it, and pretty soon it will become second nature to them... Now it won't even be an obstacle, rather just a part of their life.  Hope this comparison made sense, haha.
As for life in Huejutla, things are great.  The missionaries down here in this district have a role that is so very different then a missionary in a ward might have, just because some of these branches are still very small and new.  But I am loving it, I'm learning to love the people.  We put a baptismal date with Yulma and her husband Jose Luis and their kids for October 5th which was sweet... But then they didn't go to  church yesterday :( haha, but it's all good, we ain't trippin too hard yet.  They are progressing well.  This week we also had the leadership counsel in Tampico and I always love hearing from President and Sister Jordan, I love and respect both of them so very much.  Overall, life is incredible, the mission is the best experience I could have ever asked for.  I'm working hard to make the most out of everyday.  I love you all so much and thank you so much for all your prayers and support.  Have a great week and keep it real!  
Elder Stockard